Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Such a Wonderful Time!

I have so much to post that there is no way to fit it all in one post, so I will have to divide it into multiple posts!  I tried to login and post on Friday but I couldn't get a good connection and just wasn't able to do it for some reason. 
Anyway, let's start with Christmas Eve.  We started the day with a trip to the Way Off Broadway Breakfast with Santa.  What a great way to start the day.  The show was so full of energy and so much fun, it was just such a treat to watch the delight in Isabella's eyes as she watched the elves  and Mrs. Clause frolic and play on stage.  Then when Santa joined in on the fun-well, the crowd really got excited.  It was such a great morning of fun, too bad the food is so lacking.  (It really is terrible!) 
Bella and Mrs. Clause
Doing the limbo-how low can you go?
Bella with Jingle the Elf
Catching some of that Santa Magic!

I think all the excitement got to her because when we got home she asked if she could just go take a rest in bed.  Rest she did waking nearly 2.5 hours later!   While she napped, Jim and I ran up to the hospital to visit our nephew Justin who was hospitalized for complications following an appendectomy.  (Justin has since been released and is doing well, thank God!)
Then it was time to get ready for church services.  We were going to go to the 5:00 service as Bella was going to sing and ring the bells as part of worship.  The 5:00 service is the children's service or as our pastor refers to it as 'Controlled Chaos'.  That it is!  It is fun to see all the little ones all dressed up in the Christmas clothes and see the excitement in their eyes and hear it in their voices.  The children all did a great job singing and ringing and the service was very special.

Our serious one!

Then it was out for dinner and then on to home for our one present.  New pajamas of course!
Gotta look good for those Christmas photos. 

Snow Belle!

Next, we sprinkled the reindeer food, milk and cookies for Santa followed by a story before bed and then it was into bed for this little one!  Off to dreamland. 
Let sweet visions fill your head!

Post more on about our Christmas tomorrow!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shop, Wrap, Rest & Repeat

That has pretty much been my last few days in a nutshell!  Well, if you have to add in 9-10 hour work days on top of it all.  No wonder I was a bit grumpy last night. 
We were supposed to have company for the weekend, but due to circumstances beyond anyones control, that did not happen.  We were sad that we were not able to visit with our friends, but we certainly understood.  I had not been feeling at the top of my game anyway-just down with a cold and rotten sore throat so it was probably for the best anyway.  So I went home from work early on Friday and just rested.  I slept and did a little laundry (love the smell of clean linens when I don't feel well!) and rested some more. 
But then on Saturday it was time to pay the piper.  I had been promising Isabella that we would make a gingerbread house and she does not forget a thing, so I finally gave in.  Let me tell you, I hate making those silly things.  Even with a kit, I can't seem to do them.  They are a sticky, sloppy, gooey mess and I just have no talent whatsoever with gingerbread anything!  The walls fall in, the candy slidesoff, the icing drips down.  UGH!  At one point Bella said she thought it looked more like a haunted house than a gingerbread house.  Ha!  I want to be that kind of Grandmother, the one that wears aprons and cooks and bakes and is you know, all Martha-e with her grandchlildren, but its just not me.  Can't do it!  I try, really I do.  But it just doesn't work.  This is what happens:
A colossal mess!
The candies on the top were sinking into the house.  The windows-yeah, they slid off the house!
Bella said, "Well GaGa, the wreath looks nice!" Great, the wreath came in one piece hard to mess that one up.  So much for our gingerbread house making adventure.
I did manage to get loads of gifts wrapped!  And wrapped, and wrapped.  I finished my shopping, finally.  Christmas and birthday shopping are done.  Even the birthday gifts are wrapped for the most part.  For those of you who don't know, Michelle's birthday is Dec. 31 and Jim's is Jan. 1st., poor planning on my part I know but what are you gonna do?!  The only thing left to wrap are the few miscellaneous gifts that are trickeling in via UPS or Reg. Mail., other than that I am done, baby!  Boy does that feel good to say!
We went to church on Sunday for a service of Lessns and Carols.  The children's choir, of which Bella is a part, sang Little Drummer Boy and boy did they have the Pa Rum Pa Pum Pum down pat on that one.  Bella loves to sing and on the way to church she asked Michelle if she could be in the choir again next year and Michelle told her of course she could and Bella said "Yes!" and pumped her fist.  It was so cute.  She also said that she didn't remember that 'her concert' was that day and that she liked to sing on stage.  I reminded her that it was the alter and she said she knew but it was a stage when she was singing.  Can we say DIVA?  
Why does this happen?  I thought this was a nice picture of my girls, wanted to post it and it goes sideways like this.  Can't for the life of me figure it out or make it go the right way!
Anyway,  one more picture for the day.  Thought this was a fun one.  Shawn was over on Sunday and the girls were in their Steelers wear and he was in his Ravens jersey.  He and Michelle were sitting together and he had his arm around Michelle and was rubbing her arm and Bella complained that she had noone to rub her!  Shawn just called her up to him and she jumped into his other arm!

Hope you're all ready for Christmas! 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Own Mr. Christmas

I have noticed that in my  posts I don't often talk about my husband.  That is about to change.  I don't intentionally leave him out of my posts, but it is by his choice that I not blog about him.  Sometimes though, he can't always get his wish.  This is one of those times.  You see, I am married to a wonderful man who chooses for some unknown reason, to keep his many wonderful qualities quiet if at all possible.  Often though, they slip out-intentional or otherwise.  So let me brag on him a bit if I may.
Christmas can be an extremely stressful time of year for many, women especially.  Often women are the ones who burden the sole responsibility of Christmas; buying and wrapping the presents, decorating, baking, shopping, we do it all. I guess that I get to be counted among the lucky few.  My husband loves Christmas and he helps in many ways.
Beginning the day after Thanksgiving Jim starts getting all of our Christmas decorations out, and trust me when I tell you, that is no small task!  He puts all the exterior lights up, a candle in every window and a wreath on each window.  The exterior decorations can take him days to complete, but he doesn't mind and each year  he tries to improve the display.  He doesn't stop with the exterior of our home either, he help me in any way that he can to decorate the inside of our home too.  This year we have 6 Christmas trees inside our house, all of them are decorated.  We usually have more but because of the room re-arrangement, we were not able to put one up as planned. (Next year!) 
We do a lot of the shopping together and Jim always knows what we are giving to each person.  When our children were younger, we used to get a babysitter and go out to dinner and then to Toys R Us and do most of the shopping for the kids in one fell swoop.  We made a night of it and always looked forward to it.  Now that the kids are older, Jim likes to still have a hand in each gift that we give the kids.  And everyone else on our gft list for that matter.
Yesterday I got home from work to an empty house.  Michelle was working late and Jim had picked up Isabella from school and the two of them had gone off together.  Shopping.  He took her to pick out a few gifts to give to her Mom of her choosing.  She had some ideas and he let her go with them, some were successful and others well, not so much.  But they got the job done and on Christmas morning Isabella will have a few gifts that she can give to her Mom. They also had gone out to dinner, just the two of them.  She was so excited when they got home and couldn't wait to show me what they had gotten!  Tonight I will help her wrap her special gifts. 
My Mr. Christmas, Santa, Bella and our friend Andy
It makes the holidays a whole lot more fun when I know that I can count on my partner to actually be a partner in the whole holiday experience with me.  Truth be told, he is way worse than me! 
He doesn't know when to quit.  But, I love his enthusiasm and I  love his childlike nature about the holidays and I love that he wants to make everyone that he loves feel so loved.  It is a rare and special gift. 
I am truly grateful for one of the best gifts that I have ever been given, my husband Jim.
Merry Christmas, honey!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hersheypark Happy!

We are all on a chocolate high, but it was well worth it.  Everywhere we went we were handed chocolate and, not wishing to appear rude I ate it.  Yum!  We had a great weekend, once we got there.  Let me start at the beginning. 
Friday, I was to leave work early so that we could get up to Hershey nice and early and maybe get to the park after we checked in or go to the pool or something.  I left work shortly after 12 and headed home and at that time of day the ride should have taken no more than 20 minutes.  But, a small snow squall had blown through the area dropping maybe a quarter of an inch of snow on the ground.  (Let me stress the maybe!)  There were no less than six accidents on the roads and my ride took me an hour and a half!  I was lucky because shortly after I got home I heard that both routes home were then closed due to accidents.  Anyway, we finally did make it to the Lodge and got checked in with just enough time for me to take a rest before we had to make our way to the "Red Room" for our 'Christmas in Chocolate Town' musical review dinner theatre.  The food was good and the review was cute, it wasn't great but we weren't expecting great.  It was too long.  There were a lot of children in the audience and the way it worked was they served dinner first and then put on the show.  With dinner starting at 6:30 the show didn't start until almost 8:00 and lasted until 9:00 and by that time there was a lot of whining and crying and the kids were getting restless too!
The next morning we went to the park for Breakfast with Santa.  That was great!  Bella just loved it.  They had characters there and juggling elves and a strolling music man.  The kids all wore name tags and the music man had a great way of incorporating their names into his songs and they loved that.
Bella was picked to help the music man strum his guitar and help him with a song.  She thought that was pretty special.

Bella and the Reese's Bar

Bella and the Big Man!
Bella asked Santa for a Unicorn Pillow Pet.  Santa told her that he thought that the elves had one back at the workshop for her and he would work real  hard to bring it for her.  She was very happy to hear that as that has been her number one request for months!  On our way out, the children got to sit with Santa and Mrs. Clause and have their picture taken with them.
Bella remembered one more thing that she wished to tell him.  She told Santa that she had a Hershey Hooded sweatshirt that she had gotten last year but that she had grown out of it and if it wasn't too much trouble, could she get another one.  He said that he would try to remember that and Mrs. Clause asked her for her size and Bella gave her her size and her mom's size too. 
Even Big kids like Santa!
After that we made it into the park and even made it onto some rides. 
Well, nobody said it was going to be warm!  These two could hardly walk when they got off this ride, they were COLD, but not complaining!
We shopped, rode rides, went to chocolate world, saw the house made of candy, visited the gardens and the museum and even had a chocolate martini.  Yummm!  It was a jam packed, fun-filled week-end and we were all glad to get home.  Bella said that she wished she could stay for more days, but she crashed in the car and slept almost the whole way home and went to bed nice and early that night.  Yesterday she shared some of the magic with her classmates by bringing in some Hershey Kisses to school to share with the class. 
And now, it is a mere 11 days until Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finally Friday!

I am so excited to get started on the weekend, I feel like a little kid!  We have big plans for this weekend and we are packed and about ready to head out.  Just a little matter of work and school for some of us, but then we will be on our way.  Where are we going?  Well, I thought  you would never ask!  We are heading to the sweetest place on earth! 
Hershey, Pa. for Christmas!
Not really for Christmas, but close enough.  It is a great way to really get the holiday season kicked off into high gear.  The park is all decorated for Christmas with more than 1,000,000. lights, decorations, Christmas characters, live reindeer, rides and of course the whole experience is accompanied by the sweet smell of  chocolate.  Mmmm!  How sweet it is.  We have taken our kids since they were little and now we are lucky enough to take Bella.  Life is good!
Although we are expecting a COLD weekend, we have packed gloves, scarves and lots of layers to keep warm.  Hopefully it will work.  There have been times when we have been there when it has been truly freezing and bitter cold, but when it gets to be too much we go inside to see a show or to go through Chocolate World.  Sometimes just a steaming cup of Hershey's hot chocolate is enough to warm us.  Diet be darned!?  Maybe all the walking that we will be doing will balance things out a bit.  Ha!  Likely story!
Anyway, that's what we will be doing.  I'll check back in on Monday.
'Till then, Candy Cane Wishes and Sugar Plum Dreams!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bella's Night to Shine

Tuesday night was Bella's night to shine in her Holiday Concert at school.  The children have been working so hard with their music teachers to prepare several songs for a 40 minute concert to be presented to family and friends.  The first grade classes sang several songs all together and then each individual class sang one or two songs by themselves.  Bella was choosen from her class to give the introduction to one of the songs and she went right up to the microphone and said her lines without any hesitation.  Wonder where she gets that from?  Ha!  As my Mom likes to tell me, that gene must skip a generation as it seems to have been passed right down to Isabella from her Grandmother. 
Anyway, her class sang "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth".  How appropriate for Bella!
Our Girl!
Two Front Teeth!
It was a very cute program and we had one sleepy little girl when it was over!  She had been so excited about it and her part in it, the poor thing was just done when it was over.

In other news, progress continues on the bedroom move in our house.  Jim has been working hard at clearing out his 'den' to move everything to the finished basement and give up that space to allow for Bella to have a larger room.  She has really just grown out of her small room thanks in large part to all the stuff that we and others like to spoil her with.  Ha!
Anyway, the room is about empty now save for his desk, TV and the futon.  So whenever I have some spare time (read: after Christmas) I can begin the process of painting.   But in the meantime, all of my craft room stuff and all of Jim's den stuff are in the basement together.  It is crammed! 

Update tomorrow on our weekend plans.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekend Review

Oh, how I love the weekends!  After putting so much time and effort into work all week long, it sure is nice to have a couple of days to unwind and catch up on some fun! 
Friday night I went cropping-I know.  I haven't been in so long I know that Tootie was shocked to see me.  I was so glad to go though.  I even got some cropping done, though I can't show it on the blog right now as it is a work in progress and is a planned gift.  But oh, it felt so good to be able to be creative!  We had fun catching up too.  I really wish that I could go every Friday  night, but there is just no way that I am up to it any more.  It is really hard for me to admit that, but it is the truth and it is time that I face the facts.  But, I'll take once in a while!
Saturday was a great day.  Jim has really been working on cleaning out his den and it is now about ready for me to begin painting.  (If I can only find the time!)  He has gotten the large majority of stuff out of there and though the basement is immovable, it is out of the den.  So that was really good.  Score one for Jim!
He and I had planned on going on the Candlelight House Tour and we left earlier than planned and walked a bit around downtown and stopped in at a new restuarant for dinner.  It was only a little after 4 and we didn't have reservations so we were able to get in, but we were the last ones to get in without a reservation.  The food was excellent and we had a wonderful time.  The streets were just bustling with people shopping, carolers singing, horse drawn carriages, it really was like a picture!  Just a beautiful night.  Then we went to the house tour, which is a self guided tour of 7 homes that have been beautifully decorated for the season and opened for visitors.  The homes this year were in an historic district and were mainly from the 1920's with the exception of one home which was built in 2001, but was in the same neighborhood.  I just love to look at homes, especially older homes and see how they are decorated.  It is such a treat for me!  They were very busy this year too, lots of people wanted to see inside these homes!  There is a small skate house by the lake that was open and used as a reception center where you could get cookies and warm cider and hot chocolate.  Jim had never been inside that building so it was a nice opportunity for him to see inside it.  (t is not used much anymore.)   Unfortunatly, I fell at one of the homes and went down pretty hard and it kind of put a blight on the evening for me, but overall it was still a wonderfull evening for us. 
Sunday Jim had to work and after church, I laid on the couch for most of the day.  The fall the night before had brought about a lot of soreness and a wicked migraine, so my day was pretty much shot.   But it was nice to lie on the couch because Michelle was baking Christmas cookies and listening to carols and Bella was playing about, so if I had to feel lousy that was the way to do it. 
Later in the evening, Jim andMichelle took Bella to a Night in Bethlehem at our church.  It is meant to give the childen an idea as to what it would have been like in Bethlehem in the days of Jesus' birth.  They made bread and crafts and even had live animals. 
Making Bread

Outside with the lambs and goats.

Making a pot from clay.

I am so thankful for our church and the family that we have there.  They are such a wonderful resource and a place of welcome and love.  We are truly blessed to be part of such a community!
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Scents and Sweets

Last night Jim, Isabella and I went to the Scentsand Sweets Competition in Downtown Frederick.  The competition is for wreath, floral arrangements ad gingerbread structures and they have both amature and professional categories.  I had not been before, but Jim had gone with the girls last year and were quite impressed with all that they had to offer.  You could vote for your faorite wreath or put a bid in to buy one or several if you like!  All were creative and beautiful, some were traditional, some modern, others were playful while others still were just plain out there.  My favorite wreath was this one:

Made with red roses, rolled sheet music, a golden horn-it was just beautiful!  The bidding was going up and up on this one!
Jim was really fond of this one:
Let it Snow!
Bella was intrigued by this one:

Her favorite one though I failed to get a picture of, it was done by a local elementary school and was made of crayons!  Very cute. 
The money made on the sale of the wreaths all went to charity too, so it was a win, win situation.

Then there were the gingerbread structures.  Wow!  I am in awe of those.  Mostly because I am completely inept at that kind of thing.  One of the categories is Under 12 and some of theirs are WAY better than anything that I could do! 
There was one young lady there who was standing by her project and she was in the 13-18 Category.  Bella told her that she had made one last year for fun and the girl told her how much fun she had making hers and that she should try it again.  She then went on to explain a little of how she made hers, she was very sweet.  Here's a picture of her structure:

An Igloo!  Isn't that dear!  She even had it decorated inside the igloo and had a litte snowman and a few penguins around. 
Here is another one from the same category:
Amazing, right?!

Now for a professional one, are you ready?

Isn't that amazing?
I just love these so much!  I can't even imagine the work that goes into this.  It even has windows!  Just beautiful.
That was our night. 
Now I know Bella is going to want to make one and I'll wind up with icing all over me, and very little on the gingerbread.  Sprinkles and candy on the floor and in our hair, dripping off the house, it will look nothing like these, but we'll have fun doing it! 
And have lots of clean up afterwards!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Only 25 Shopping Days Left

How is your holiday shopping going?  Are you done or nearly done?  Haven't started?  I have made great strides in my completing my shopping this year.  My goal is to have it all done and wrapped with time to spare so that I can enjoy the joy of the season.  That is my goal anyway.  You know what they say about the best laid plans and all that?! 

I love gift giving though.  I really enjoy the process of finding something that is just right for the person that I am buying for, wrapping it up prettily, giving the gift and watching as that person unwraps it and finds the treasure that is beneath the pretty wrappings.  It gives me such a warm feeling inside and leaves me with such a sense of pride.  It got me to thinking about the origin of gift giving at Christmas, not the Roman origins of Saturnalia but the religious origins and significance of the giving of gifts.

Sometime after the birth of Jesus, three Wise Men, also known as Magi, came to visit the newborn bearing gifts of insence, gold and myrrh.   "...Magi came from the east to Jeruaulem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?  We saw his star in the east and have come to worship  him."   Matthew 2:1-2 

Those gifts were given as a sign of worship, an offering to the King who was and is our greatest gift of all.  Can you imagine the anticipation, the love and joy that must have been in God's heart when he gave us this most precious gift?  His Son!  For our salvation.  Such a gift that we as a people we unaware of the magnitute of it, the value for our souls, for our life here on earth and life everlasting.  Such is His love for us.
We celebrate that, we rejoice in that and we cherish that.  With gifts of thanksgiving, with songs of praise, glory, laud and honor to His name.  Excited souls sing!

   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

So shop, decorate and celebrate.  It is what we do.  It is how we celebrate the birthday of our Saviour.  But as for me, I will try to keep that feeling of love, the spirit of joy, and a grateful heart for the gift that is Christ our Lord not just at Christmas but every day.  To honor that gift.

                                                               Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Short Break

Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Shopping, all seemed to be a good reason to take a short blogging break.  So I did!  My family spoiled me on my birthday with lots of stamp sets from Paper Trey Ink, a new charm for my bracelet, CDs, a camera case, all kinds of stuff.  What fun!
Then I got up at the crack of dawn on Thursday and started my Thanksgiving dinner.  Lots of work to be done, but well worth it.  We had a nice dinner and a really nice day.  I made these little guys for each place setting:
They were filled with after dinner mints.  I thought they were cute.  (Stamps from Inky Antics)
Then after our company left Michelle and I began pourin over the Black Friday ads in anticipation of our annual shopping trip.  We cut coupons, made lists, set a strategy and we all set to go!  Come 1:00 AM, she woke me (she had not yet been to bed!) I jumped into my clothes, we got ready and off we went, arriving at our first destination at 1:59 AM.  We shopped at the Hagerstown outlets, then hit the mall, some stand alone department stores such as Kohls & Target and then back to the outlets.  Then we headed back down the road to Frederick and hit those stores ending up back home at around noon.  Once home we crashed!
We did get some good buys and got lots of shopping done, but most of all we had fun together. 
Friday night, we went downtown to herald the arrival of Santa to Frederick in the Frosty Friday celebration.  He came in via horse drawn carriage, then he directed the crowd in singing Christmas carols.  It was fun and Bella loved it! 
We also started to decorate the house for Christmas.  We go a little crazy around the holiday, so it does take a while to get everything out, but we mad a good dent.  Michelle and Bella each put their trees up in their bedrooms and decorated them.  We have one small tree on the porch that is flocked with snow and decorated with all bird ornaments and that is up.  Then we have a full size tree in the living room with white lights and an angel on the top.  That tree is decorated in a more Victorian manner with white, pink, dark green, gold and burgundy colored ornaments with glitter and glitz and tinsel.  In our family room we have a more traditional tree with multi colered lights a star on top and whimsical, fun ornaments that we have colected over the years.  Those are the trees that we have up at this point, we usually have 3 more, but they are not done yet and may or may not get done this year, it depends on how things shape up.
I still have a ways to go, but like I said I've made a good dent in things!

In other news, we got to meet Michelle's new boyfriend.  She has been seeing him for about a month now and we finally got to meet  him over the weekend.  He seems very nice and they are clearly taken with each other.  It is nice to see!  So this is mostly for the family but here is a picture:

Kind of a weird picture of Michelle, but you get the idea.  Oh and by the way, I did get Shawn's permission to post this before I just went ahead and posted it. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Long Weekend

I love a nice long weekend, and this past weekend was an especially nice one.  We made a three day weekend of it and went down to Williamsburg to visit with Andy and Durinda.  They had invited us to attend a William & Mary football game with them ad spend the weekend and we did.  Because I am such a HUGE football fan, I just couldn't resist the opportunity!  Ha!  For those of you who don't know me, let me explain that I will never l ive down asking why the fans were holding up 'D-Gate' signs.  You know, a big D and what looked to me like a gate, it was in fact a piece of fence and stood for 'Defence'.  How was I to know!
Anyway, the weather was just beautiful a perfect fall day. We started out with a lovely tailgate meal.
Durinda being the ultimate hostess even made chocolate dipped pretzels sprinkled with green & yellow 'tribe' sprinkles.  So cute!  Everything was just delicious!  Then we packed up and went inside for the game.  It was the last game of the season and W&M were to play their rivals the Spiders from Richmond.  Durinda said that everyone was so excited to see me there that men were dropping from the sky!
They were the flying eagles-so cool to see them. 
And it was a super game.  W&M won, beating their rivals for the first time in at least 5 years and sending themselves to the playoffs!  It was a lot of fun, even for me. 
Sunday was more about the girls.  We took Bella to see Santa over at Yankee Candle.  He's the real Santa for those of you who are wondering and he is wonderful!  Ever so kind and patient with the children.  Bella hopped right up on his lap and spoke to him telling him that she was tring hard to be good and what she was hoping for for Christmas.  It was all very nice.  But later, as she was sitting at a table with Andy, Durinda and Grandaddy, they saw a man walking around the store dressed all in red.  He had white hair and a white mustache and beard and Bella couldn't help but notice him.  Durinda noticed too and she said so to Bella and together they went over to speak to him.  They said that they thought he looked quite a lot like Santa and asked if he was related and he said that yes, there was a strong family resemblance and handed Bella a card.  It said that she had been caught being good by Santa's brother an gave a web site to visit.  Well, she was so excited!  She ran back to the table to tell Andy and Grandaddy and who is at the table visiting with them?  That's right, Santa  himself!  She about died!  Said, I know you and he said 'I know you too!'  Well after all of that excitement she was about done in.  She could hardly stand it and just wanted to go back to the house and rest!  It was just too cute.
Here she is with the jolly one himself! 
Then on Sunday night, we had a lovely dinner to celebrate both Andy's and my birthdays.  Andy's birthdy was actually Sunday and mine is tomorrow.  Durinda made a delicious meal and ended is with a beautiful cake, mmmmm-mmmm!  Presents, too! 
Oh, and did I forget to mention and Saturday morning Durinda and I got to go to Impression Obsession's Warehouse sale?  It was great.  I bought a whole bag of rubber stamps, some mounted-some not and only spent $27 dollars.  The unmounted stamps were sold by the pound or by the ounce, so I paid $2 for a handfull of them!  
It was a great weekend, and the best part of all was spending it with good friends!  Thanks again, Andy & Durinda!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust!

In the same week that bonnie Prince William announces his engagement to Kate Middleton, the not so  desperate housewife Eva Longoria files for divorce from her husband of three years Tony Parker.  Three years to you and me is when they are just coming off the honeymoon stage but in terms of a Hollywood marriage it seems like the equivalent to ten.   Why is that?  Do the rich and famous go into a marriage with the mindframe that it is just a temporary thing, until something better comes along, or something fancier catches their eye?  I'm not sure if that is it or not, but if it is I can honestly say that I don't understand that mentality. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not against divorce.  I fully understand that sometimes it is for the best.  My parents are divorces and in their case, it was for the best.  Their was no big scandal there, nothing that could be pointed at and said 'that was it'.  It was many things that added up to this, they brought out the worst in each other.  That is not what marriage should be about and that is not what they wanted to teach their daughters what love was.  They loved us enough to divorce and make a better life for all of us, independent of one another.

But marriage is hard.  Even with the right person, it is not easy every day.  You have to make a concious choice to stay married.  To honor your committment, each other, your families and your God.  There are a lot of people in your marriage, it's not just about two people.  It's so much more than that.  It's work.  Hard work.  It's a struggle, a balancing act, a leap of faith, a joy, a thrill ride, a crazy, zany, treasured, walk through life.  It can be so many things, but it is not easy.

Now, I don't pretend to be some marriage guru here-but I can speak from a bit of experience.  Having been married to the same man for nearly 30 years now, we have been through quite a lot together and have shared quite a number of experiences.  Sometimes I think that romantic movies have ruined us because we tend to want our lives to be like our favorite romanance and its not.  It's just not practical.  We watch a movie for an  hour and a half or two hours, and marriages take place over a lifetime if your lucky.  There are those moments that we cherish, those sweet, sappy moments that we hold close to our hearts and never will forget.  Real life over rides them for the most part becuse those moments are far more frequent.  Which is what makes those other moments all the more special.  Right? 

When I was but a blushing bride, my grandmother gave me a beautiful crystal vase as a wedding gift and told my husband that he was to keep it filled for our first year of marriage, thereby guaranteeing a happy marriage.  My grandmother was very special to me and at the time of my wedding she was recovering from a major life-altering stroke.  Speaking was often difficult for her and her words didn't always come out as she wanted them to.  But on this she was clear, he was to keep that vase filled for one year.  And he did.  The type of flowers didn't matter to me, what mattered was that he did it, that it meant something to him because she meant something to me.  That was special and still is. 

I'm not going to tell you that there are not going to be times when you wake up and see him lying in bed next to you and think 'Oh, crap!'  The reality is you probably will.  Or that you might lie awake at night wondering if you smother him with your pillow will anyone suspect you in his death, or will they think he just died in his sleep.  (Kidding, kinda!)  I mean let's face it, Eve probably should really have kept her hands and her mouth off of that apple.  But it is what it is and we have to deal with it now, so - my point- marriage is work people.
Work at it!  Honor your committments!  Teach your children how to honor theirs! 

And now, I will step down off my soap box.

Thank you.

 Look, I guarantee there'll be tough times. I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us is gonna want to get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life, because I know, in my heart, you're the only one for me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Recap

Monday arrived far too quickly!  The weekends never seem to last long enough.  I went into the weekend without too much on my agenda and though I kept busy nothing was planned out.  It was nice. 
Friday night Jim and I took Isabella to the mall to await the arrival of Santa Claus.  They had been heavily promoting it on the local radio station and she had heard it and wanted to go so we thought why not.  Michelle was working so it was just the three of us.  We didn't know what to expect so got there early in the event that there was a big crowd.  They had  little elf show before the grand entrance and then onceSanta came through that was basically it.  He came in and invited the kids to come to the center court and see him and then he went to take his seat at center court.  Jim scrambled to get in line with Bella to get her picture taken with Santa and even though he went right away, we were still in line for quite a while.  She told Santa that she wanted a unicorn pillowpet for Christmas.  That was it!  She's pretty easy.  We got a cute picture of the two of them together too. 
Saturday, since we had no plans we took it easy.  Lingered over coffee, stayed in our jammies, took a nice long shower and leisurly cleaned the house.  Then Bella said that she'd like to go back to the mall and show her Mom some of the things that we'd seen the night before, so off we went.  Jim had to work so it was just us girls.  While we were there, Michelle had the great idea to have Bella's pictures re-shot from La
Petite at Picture People and went there to see if they could get Bella in and they said they could.  Of course, Bella wasn't dressed for a picture so we had to buy her an outfit!  She had on a cute hat so I suggested we get her something to match her hat as I thought it would look cute in pictures.  Bella was in a great mood for modeling and they wound up giving us 26 proofs to view!  All good!  Talk about hard choices.  We were finally able to make our selections and get out of there with some really good photos and Michelle also had here Christmas cards printed.  It only took about 2 hours total, I didn't think that was bad for a walk in on a Saturday in November. 
Sunday brought church and after that it was time to clean and condition the hot tub.  Talk about a job.  Ugh!  Fortunately the weather was perfect for it.  Not too hot or too cold.  I got it done in  no time, but unfortunately for me, the conditioning requires a lot of buffing and my arms are killing me now!  The are like wet noodles.  I was able to get a brief (and I stress the word brief) nap in, before Jim was suggesting that it would be a good day to go to the Hallmark store for our ornaments.   Every year since our marriage we have bought a Hallmark ornament for our tree, then when each of the children came along they too, were allowed to pick out one ornament for their tree.  The idea is that when they leave home they will have enough ornaments to fill a tree or at least to make a good start and to have some cherished memories.  Bella is included in the tradition as well.  It is always fun for us and a family event.  Tim wasn't able to go with us this year, but the rest of us went.  And like when our kids were little, Bella just couldn't decide w hich one to choose.  In the end, after much debate this is what she picked:
It plays "All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth" and we thought it was perfect!
She is tickled with it too.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finally Friday!

I am ready to start my weekend.  Not that I have any great plans.  In fact, I don't really have plans to do much of anything at the moment but sometimes that is good.  This is one of those times.  I seem to spend so much time running from one thing to the next that I rarely have time to just be, and I miss those days.  I'd like to be able to clean my house at a leisurly pace instead of the frenetic pace that I usually use to perform such tasks.  I take pride in my home and in the way that I tend to it and I enjoy the process in keeping it up, and keeping it clean.  I love the look and smell of a clean and tidy house.  I'd like it a whole lot better if it could stay that way for more than a few minutes, but such is the price of living.
I'd like to snuggle up on the couch in my pajamas with Bella in hers under the warmth of a worn in blanket and read books together.  Books that she is old enough to read to herself but still likes to have me read to her sometimes.  I'd like to make a nice warm cup of tea for me and hot chocolate for her and put it in our matching cranberry colored spatter ware mugs, adult sized for me and child sized for her.  We'd wrap our hands around the mugs smooth surface and enjoy the warmth that spreads from the mug to our hands.  I'd look at Bella and she'd look up at me and smile in that way that she does that says she is enjoying just being with me and being like me. 
Later, after a shared lunch Bella will know that she needs to lie down and 'take a little rest'.  And she will.
While she rests, Michelle and I will settle ourselves in the family room with the blinds closed, a scented candle lit, a big bowl of popcorn to share and put on a movie that we have seen a dozen or so times before.  We'll laugh at the same spots that we've laughed before, maybe say a line or two along with our favorite character, cry like we've done each time before and be saddened by the fact that the ending still has not changed. And I will love every minute of it. 
I feel sometimes as though these times are fleeting, measured and the sand in my hourglass is quickly running out.  I need to stop and savor each and every second of my precious time here with my family.   While we are together.   Not that I am planning on going anywhere, or anything happening, but we grow and change, children grow up and their needs change.  I've seen that already.  I'd had hoped to be able to keep us all under one roof, I knew that was not reasonable.  But I could hope.  The truth is, I know that they need to move on and grow at their time and pace.  For now, I hold on tight and as change happens I will learn to accept it and take what I can get. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

First Saturday

On the first Saturday of each month our downtown shops stay open a little later and the downtown area offers a special event to bring people out.  This past Saturday was the beginning of the  holiday season and they offered a Holiday Open House.  All the little brick shops were lined with white lights, red and green balloons were everywhere, decorations were in all the shops and a festive air filled the streets!  There were wine tastings and free food, a brass band, and free horse drawn carrige rides and trolley rides.  We went down for a while to join in the festivities and after waiting in line and enjoying meeting some new 'neighbors', we got on a carriage ride.   It was such a beautifully chilly night for a ride, we all enjoyed it so much.  Bella was delighted with the two big black horses that pulled the carriage, Max and Timmy.  After the ride she went up front to pet them and because Timmy was getting a lot of attention she pet Max.  But each time that she tried to stop petting him he started to nibble at her and she would just laugh and laugh!  It was so cute.
Then she talked to Timmy and told him that she had an Uncle named Timmy so she loved that name.  She just warms my heart. 
So here we are on the carriage ride.  Jim snapped the picture.  I don't know what that big black spot is so please ignore it!

A Glimpse Inside

*I have been suffering with a terrible migraine all day Sunday.  Laying on the couch in and out of sleep all day.  It has given me time to think.  Not the 'why me?' kind of thing, it has never been that because that implies someone else.  More the introspective kind of thought.  So please forgive me if I ramble a bit.  I wrote this when I came back to a semi-consious state and set it to post today.    

Have you ever tried to get a glimpse inside your neighbors world?  While taking your little one trick or treating you go to the door and when 'those' neighbors answers you steal a glance inside.  Or when that new family at church pulls up to drop off in front, you check out the type of car they drive and how clean or dirty it may be.  Maybe it's when taking your little one to pre-school, you see the happy faces of the families as they drop off their children and imagine what their life is like at home.  Do you?  Come on, we all do to a certain degree.  But what can just a glimpse tell us?  Will we get the real picture?  The full truth?  Or just a snapshot that is shown to thw world?  Think about what your glimpse would reveal.
     It is easy to judge without knowing the whole truth.  The rest of the story.  None of us are guilt free.  We all make assumptions of one kind or another.  Wounds cut the surface but scars run deep.  What if we were to know what lay behind that brief glimpse?  Would our attitude change, would we be more empathetic, more compassionate?  It is hard to know.  I wonder though because I was once accused of having had it too easy.  I say 'accused', because it felt like an accusation and I believe that it was meant as one.  And it hurt.  Because that was far from the truth.  While my life may have looked easy to some, the truth may have painted quite a different story.  The truth went something like this:  I was married young, a few short month after we met we were married.  Having never lived with a man other than my Father, I found many things about this ne life disturbing.  Adjustment was difficult to say the least.  Then I became pregnant and raging hormones were added into the mix along with my leaving school, constant morning sicknes, being away from home and my grandmother being very ill.  My parents were not thrilled with my choices, I had very few friends, no job and my new husband was working two jobs to support us.  But we did have a home, a  new baby on the way and we wildly in love.  So yeah, it was so easy!  The rest is pretty typical, we have certainly had our share of ups and downs, plenty of tears to go along with the laughter and we have been thrown our share of curve balls along the way.  Somehow, by the Grace of God, we have made it through.  It has not been easy, it never is. 
    What if everyone carried signs that told of their particular plight?  Things like: My husband walked out on me, I am in terrible debt, I live in a shelter, My child is an addict, My baby died at  birth, My husband just lost his job, and on and on.  How would yours read?  We all have a cross to bear.  A burden that we wrestle with.  Pain.  Heartache.  Grief.  Know this, God does not waste pain.  He gives us opportunities.  Opportunities to reach out to others, to lessen someone else's pain, to offer hope, compassion, love, and to testify of His unending love for us.  Will your heart be revealed?
I know that you have all heard the phrase 'Let go and let God.'  Easy to say, much more difficult to do in practice.  But try it.  Try to give up  your worries, realize that you are not in control and that your story was written out for you long ago by He who is in control.  So let go, and relax.  Take a deep breath and pray.  And give it up to Him.  You will be amazed at how light you will feel.  It is freeing.
    And thos glimpses, just look for the signs.  They are the only things that you need to worry about.

"I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me"
Philippians 4:13

Friday, November 5, 2010

Finally Friday!

Feels like it's been a long week!  Strange though how time can seem to drag yet fly by at the same time.  Know what I mean.  Here it is already November 5th!  Only 20 days until Thanksgiving and then another month from there until Christmas.  I've just started to think about my shopping and the thought alone has me overwhelmed.  I know that my SIL Linda is probably nearly done if not completely done!  I am not nearly that organized.  I have gotten a few things, but very little.  Too many people, too little time, and far too little money!  Ha!  But I do love it when I get a burst of creativity and come up with the perfect gift for someone on my list.  So the hunt is on now for all those perfect, wonderful gift-all on sale.  Can't wait to begin the begin!  What about you? 
As for the weekend, no real big plans.  Ironing.  Yeah.  Clean the house.  Double yeah. 
Jim has been working hard at packing up his den in order to move on out of there.  Once he gets his stuff out, I will get that room painted for Bella and move her bedroom in there.  Then on to paint her bedroom for me. Yup, moving the scraproom - again.  Shouda, woulda, coulda.  Should have moved Jim downstairs in the first place.  Would have saved a lot of trouble in the long run.  Could have been done with all of this mess by now.  Thought I'd take the easy way out and be done with it, but it just didn't work out that way.  Jim thought he'd like it better downstairs.  I don't care enough either way.  Bella really needs a bigger room.  Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  It can kill you if you let it.  Won't let it.  Maybe I'll hire someone to do the painting this time and save myself the headache (and bachache!).  Just hoping that we can get it all done soon so that I can get my Christmas cards done.  Right now I don't know where anything is!  What a mess.
So for now-pictures!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


My Girls!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When we left off...

I was on my way to pick up Bella at school in my costume.  When she came out of the school I said hi and waved at her and she said hi and waved back and kept walking and looking around for someone to meet her.  She didn't recognize me at all.  I called her again and bent down to her level and she said "GaGa?" then she just laughed.  Later she told Michelle that she heard my voice but couldn't see me.  Ha!  Too funny!

Saturday we took  her down to one of the outdoor malls and she went trick or treating there.  It was fun to see lots of different costumes.  The store employees were dressed up too and that was fun to see.  Afterwards we went out for lunch and then took Bella to her class on Bones.  She just loved it!  That kid is really something.  She was so interested in learning about the different bones, it was fun to watch and hear what she and the other kids had to say.  Honestly, you could have filmed it and made a TV show of it, it was pretty amusing. These kids are smart too.  He asked them if they knew any names of bones and I expected to hear leg bone, arm bone, like that.  Nope.  Instead we got, skull, phalange and sternum!  OK, really?!  Geeesh!  He showed the kids a jaw bone with some teeth in it and talked to them about how the teeth pulled away from the jawbone and eroded, and one kid piped in with 'Oh, like the Grand Canyon?'  So it was entertaining for the parents as well as the children.  After the class was over the children were allowed to hold Shadow, one of the 'pets' of the Discovery Center. 
Bella and Shadow

After the class we walked around the grounds and snapped a few shots of Bella and Michelle together. 
Well it looks like Blogger is still having issues and I can't add another picture, but I would if I could!  
Suffice it to say, it was a beautiful fall day and we made the most of it and got lots of pictures. 

On Sunday, we went to Church and Bella sang with the Children's Choir.  It was very cute and she was so happy to be a part of the group.  She has wanted to join the group, but this is the first year that we thought she could make it for the whole day.  They meet at 8:45 then Sunday School is at 9:30 and Church is at 10:30 and then we don't get home until 12:00 at the earliest and it makes for a long  morning for her.  She still will often ask to lie down as soon as we get in the door, no lunch or anything just a nap! 
 At Church I lit a candle and said a prayer for my nephew Daniel in honor of All SAints Day.  Daniel has been gone for seven months now and I like to think that he is celebrating with the angels now.  I often think of him and of my brother and how diffcult loosing Daniel must be on him.  It can never be easy to loose a child but I think it must be especially difficult if you don't have a strong belief system to support you, and I fear that my brother does not.  So I pray for him on many levels.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Friday, October 29, 2010

Costume Contest!

Two posts in one day.  I'm on a roll!  Just wanted to pop in real quick with a couple of pics of me for a change.  That's right.  We had a costume contest a work today and I won.  Wanna see?....................

Sexy thing, aren't I?
It was pretty funny though.  Some people laughed right away, some just looked at me and the woman who works next to me and sees me every day asked a co-worker who the old lady was!  When she was told it was Karen the woman said 'Karen who?'  Ha!  I got a kick out of that.
Michelle just called and asked that I pick Bella up at school because she is running late.  Woner what she'll think


Not quite sure what is going on with my computer, but I can only upload two pictures to my blog per entry.  So here are two from my photo shoot with Bella on Sunday.  I love the pink and brown!  She lost another tooth yesterday at school.  That makes eight for anyone who is counting!  Eating is becoming a challenge for her - one she doesn't need.  Though a few are beginning to make their way to the surface so hopefully she will have some teeth soon.  In the meantime, we enjoy her toothy grin!

Love this girl!
She is excited for Halloween and Trick or Treating.  I am excited for the weekend and some sleep time!  Yay!  Might even get something done, but we'll have to see.
Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Our Little Fan!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Re-Cap

Friday was Michelle's big night at work, something that she has been working on for quite a while-the Fall Fun Festival.  Each year their pre-school puts on a festival to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation and Michelle is in charge of this effort.  She worked tirelessly on it and it showed!  Each school in the region is given a goal to reach and Michelle's goal was more than double that of every other school in the region.  They had pony rides, a moon bounce, a mineral dig, pizza, a bake sale, a silent auction and a raffle as well as games and treats for all the children in each of the classrooms.  She got one of the local radio stations to create an ad and air it for the couple weeks prior and lots of local business donated items for the auction and raffle.  The cost is $5 per child and adults are free.  Bella couldn't wait to go, she was so excited.  I was truly so proud of Michelle and the effort that she puts forth on behalf of this cause every year.  It was a huge success!  Here's Bella playing one of the games:
Saturday, Michelle and I took Bella shopping for clothes as she has grown out of many of hers.  The stinker!  She grew about two inches since school began and so we really needed to fill in her wardrobe.  She mostly needed pants as the growth was mostly in her legs.  We headed up to the outlets and had quite a bit of success up there.  The drive up was beautiful too!  The leaves are really magnificant right now and the weather was just perfect.  Such a nice day to be walking around. 
That evening, Jim and I went to dinner with our dear friends the Prichards.  We have not seen them in a while and it was wonderful to have an opportunity to catch up with them both and just enjoy each others company.  We really need to make a point to do that more often.
Sunday was another beautiful day.  We took advantage of the weather and went downtown for a little mini photo shoot with Bella.  I wanted to play with my camera a bit and she's my favorite model, so it was an opportunity not to be missed.  I also cut about four inches off her hair before we left, she wanted it shorter but that was as short as I could go!  Hopefully I can add some pics later, blogger is acting up and won't let me  do it now!  I even got a little crafting in-very little but I got a two page spread done.  Again, I'll post when I can. 
And to top it all off-the Steelers won making my hubby and son very happy!  Having said that I have to add for my parents and sibs- Go Giants!